Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Is The Ball Supposed To Carry Like That At Comerica?

So I’ve had about 24 hours to digest the opening day slaughter of the Royals at the hands of the Tigers. It was ugly, but not entirely unexpected. The company line will be: “There will be days like this.” It’s true. There are going to be some games that will be difficult to watch this year. Hopefully we will see some development as the summer progresses.

So with that out of the way, here are some thoughts from the opener. Since I'm an optimist by nature, let's start with the disappointments from yesterday and finish up with some good news:

• If it was in the ballpark, the Royals were swinging. Jeremey Bonderman threw 102 pitches, 72 for strikes, most of them swinging. Of the first nine outs, six were strikeouts. For any team to be successful, they must learn to work the count and make the opposing pitcher work for his outs. Swinging and missing at pitches out of the zone is not part of the recipe for success.

Lima-Time was serving up gopher balls again. He’s always had a problem keeping the ball in the yard, but 3 homers in 3 innings at Detroit? Lima was grooving his pitches with no bit on his off speed offerings and zero action on his fastball. With Lima-Time you never know what you’re going to get from one start to the next. Monday, we saw the 2000 version of Lima-Time.

• The bullpen wasn’t much better. Heading into this season, I felt that the relievers would outpitch the starters this year. I still feel that way, but it’s just a little bit disconcerting that out of four pitchers in relief of Lima, not a single one could set the side down in order.

• Yes, there was good. Calvin Pickering began the regular season the way he ended his spring training by hitting a solo shot in the eighth. He also struckout twice, but that’s what you expect from big Cal. Hopefully, he’ll save some of those bombs for close games with men on base.

Angel Berroa drew a walk in the second inning. In his two full seasons in the big leagues, he’s averaged 26 walks which is way too low for someone with his skill set. I know it’s doesn’t seem like much, but if Angel can exhibit some form of plate discipline, he will be a very good player in this league.

And you can't have a discussion about this game without a tip of the cap to Dimitri Young. Young did his best Tuffy Rhodes impersonation becoming only the 3rd player in big league history to go yard three times on Opening Day. George Bell was the first, homering three times on April 4, 1988 against Bret Saberhagen at Royals Stadium. Rhodes (a former Royal farmhand) did it on April 4, 1994 for the Cubs. And now Young, who also did it on April 4.

This could be a strange season.


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